We all know the benefits of exercise to our physical health and how staying active can help lower risks of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, etc. But new research is now showing that staying active into your senior years can actually improve your brain’s function and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
NBC News reports about the University of California’s new study recently presented at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The scientists who studied close to 1,000 adults with an average age of 78 found that the top 5% most active senior citizens of the group had more gray matter than those who were less active. The more gray brain cells the lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age.
Dr. Cyrus Raji of the University of California explains how the most active participants in the study have proven how exercise can help in preventing this disease. Raji says, “The most active had 5 percent more gray matter volume than the least active. That's a big number when you think about the tremendous biological forces that have to be at work for brain volume to change at all.”
Researchers believe seniors should find something they enjoy like dancing, gardening or even raking leaves and stick to it as they will be more likely to continue their exercise regime if it is an activity they like doing. Raji explains how important this new research is during a time when Alzheimer’s treatment has proven unsuccessful in patients. Raji says, “No pharmaceutical drug on the market has been shown to have these effects on the brain -- not a single drug.”
What do you think of the research suggesting physical activity can greatly reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
What type of physical activity do you enjoy doing that keeps you in shape?
I love running, although I loathed even the thought of running a few years ago. I out of the blue decided to run a 5K, afterall it can't be that hard right?!?! Without and training or prior exercise since high school, I ran but I couldn't walk normal for 4 days afterwards I was so sore! I set up small goals and now I am hooked and finished my first marathon in Novemeber, just 3 years after starting to run!